New Delhi: Aiming at strengthening safety measures, railways has decided not to engage station masters for selling tickets at small stations so that they concentrate on train operation only.
As per the decision, station masters (SM) and assistant station masters (ASM) will be relieved from the responsibility of selling train tickets at small stations.
Currently, booking clerks have not been posted at small stations and SMs and ASMs are responsible for selling tickets there. The dual function of the station master is not being considered as a healthy practice from safety point of view.
"We will be appointing station ticket booking sewaks (STBS) at certain stations which are being categorised as "E" class stations. STBS will be selling tickets at stations and station masters will be free from this responsibility and as a result they will be fully responsible for train operation," said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The stations which have less than Rs 5 lakh per year business are in E category and there are 4,158 such small stations out of total 8495 stations in the country.
However, the official said STBS will not be railway employees and they will be working on commision basis.
The stations have not been selected yet for the STBS scheme as it will be operational for a year on a pilot basis at a few stations only.
The STBS will have to deposit Rs 5000 as security deposit and Rs 20,000 as bank gurantee to avail the scheme. Zonal railways will select stations and invite tenders for the appointment of STBS shortly.
The jansadharan ticket booking sewak (JTBS) scheme is already operational in railways. But the difference between STBS and JTBS is that former is allowed to sell tickets on station premises and the latter is not allowed to do so.
JTBS will have to set up office outside station premises and there are more than 1000 JTBS operational in the Railways.